2Title 17 United States Code section 204(a) (section 204) of the Copyright Act
provides: “A transfer of copyright owners
hip, other than by operation of law, is not validunless an instrument of conveyance, or a note or memorandum of the transfer, is in
writing and signed by the owner of the rights conveyed or such owner‟s duly authorizedagent.” We affirm the entry of summ
ary judgment against appellant MVP Entertainment,Inc. (MVP), because it failed to raise a triable issue of material fact that it had a validtransfer of copyright under section 204. No evidence showed that the purported transferwas signed by respondents
Mark Frost‟s and Good Comma Ink‟s duly authorized agent,evidence of which was essential to each of appellant‟s causes of action.
FACTS AND PROCEDURE
Frost wrote The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever (2007) (TheMatch). The copyright for The Match is assigned to Good Comma Ink, of which Frost isthe sole owner. MVP and its president, Robert Frederick, sought to obtain rights to makea movie based on The Match.
In late 2008 and early 2009, the parties‟ attorneys –
Alan Wertheimer and WilliamJacobson
corresponded about MVP‟s potential purchase of the copyright for The
Match. On April 30, 2009, Jacobson, on behalf of MVP, sent Wertheimer an email
proposing certain terms and stating, “Let me know if this is okay and we‟ll send
rk . . . .” Wertheimer responded, “done . . . thanks! Werth.”
On May 19, 2009, Jacobson sent Wertheimer an agreement. On July 23, 2009,Frederick wrote Jacobson, stating he would like to have the agreement signed byAugust 17 or 18. No formal agreement was signed.In the summer of 2009, Frost met with Frederick and shortly afterwards toldFrederick he did not want MVP to make The Match
into a movie. That spawned thislawsuit for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, declaratory relief, and negligent
misrepresentation. MVP‟s overarching claim was that the parties entered a contract or
promised MVP they would enter into a contract to allow MVP to make a movie of The
Match. According to MVP, Wertheimer‟s email stating “done . . . thanks! Werth” was
signed by Wertheimer and created a binding contract.